General · 5th July 2016
In 1925, after an extremely dry July and August, a surveyors' campfire near the Lucky Jim Mine jumped into the trees and was pushed by strong northwest winds all the way to Heriot Bay and Gowlland Harbour. It consumed an estimated 50,000 acres of forest land and many homes and homesteads. Could something like that happen today?
Sometime ago in discussion with Coastal Fire in Parksville I learned of the existence of a Burn Bylaw. This bylaw may be used, once implemented, by municipalities and regional districts in formulating fire prevention strategies for local areas.
At present, Quadra Island is divided into two distinct jurisdictions in the area of fire planning. South of the sign above Hyacinthe Bay, Quadra has its own Fire District, complete with fire halls, trucks and trained volunteers. The Fire Chief makes decisions for the area.
The northern three-quarters of Quadra Island is administered by the Provincial Ministry of Forests [MFLNRO] and has a different set of standards. The Ministry's priorities relate to Crown Land. They will respond to a fire on Crown Land or threatening Crown Land. Fires on private property and house fires are not in their mandate.
The last time I checked, Quadra Island as a whole was rated as 3 on a drought scale of 1 to 4 with number 4 classed as extreme drought. It is only early July.
The population of Quadra has risen dramatically since 1925, and will continue to do so. With more people living and working here and more visitors every year, the chances of a human caused wildfire rises.
I believe Quadra would be well served with a bylaw that would treat the island as one unit, with one set of fire prevention standards. This would allow the Fire Chief the ability to administer these standards across the entire island at one time. However, this does not mean the South Quadra fire trucks would be expected to extend their coverage past the Hyacinthe Bay Road sign. Insurance issues make that not a possibility. Living on North Quadra demands that you try to be prepared to help yourself and your neighbours should any fire on private property occur.
This is a small island and any fire getting away should be of extreme concern to everyone. Fire knows no boundaries. Anything we can do to minimize the possibility of a human caused wildfire, we should do.
If you are interested in learning more about this bylaw please contact the people listed below. To move this bylaw forward there must be substantial desire in the community for it. Please write, or email the following:
Corporate Manager, Strathcona Regional District ph: 250-830-6700
301-990 Cedar St, Campbell River BC V9W 7Z8 eMail: tyatesstrathconard.ca
Jim Abram SRD Regional Director
Box 278 Quathiaski Cove BC V0P 1N0
ph: 250-285-3355 eMail: jimabramxplornet.ca
Claire Trevena, MLA North Island
908 Island Highway, Campbell River V9W 2C3
Comment by Judith Wright on 9th July 2016
Every house, or group of houses, should have at least one gas-powered, fire pump and several hundred feet of fire hose, plus all the necessary connections to a water source. Include a strainer filter screen and suction hose in case your plumbed water source runs dry and you have to move to creek or ocean. The pump needs to be run and serviced regularly. Store all equipment so that it can be easily loaded into a vehicle and moved to any fire.
Make up a list of all the available fire fighting equipment with storage locations, then distribute the list to the neighbours. This way, your house can be saved or your equipment used on another fire even when you are not home.
Remote living requires self sufficiency, and a cooperative community helps, too.